Even though it's being stripped apart by James Pallotta and co bit by bit, part of what has always made Roma a special club was the myth and romanticism that seems to be sewn into the fabric of the club itself. Never blessed with a bevy of trophies, Roma always had that something that made them special, that pull or that bond that kept Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi loyal when all common sense and good reason should have wrested them away from Roma. That same romance that kept those icons in a Roma shirt is the same thing that keeps us coming back year after year, heartbreak after heartbreak.
And while the actual Romans on the pitch will always be the epitome of that unique relationship, every so often a player comes along, and though he wasn't raised in her streets, he nevertheless comes to symbolize all that makes Roma different. Kostas Manolas was getting there, Radja Nainggolan came as close as anyone possibly could but his off the pitch antics were too abrasive for some, but Kevin Strootman? Yeah, he was an honorary Roma if ever there was one.
So when Roma parted ways with Strootman last August, selling him to Marseilles where he would reunite with Rudi Garcia, it was bitter sweet for everyone involved.
Several years ago selling Strootman would have been unthinkable. Not only was he a top player, his passion for the club and the crest was clear as day; he embodied so, so much of what we love about this club that it wasn’t hard to envision Strootman donning the giallo e rosso until he was damn near 40.
But that bit of nostalgia, though it was only four or five years ago, was completely different from today’s reality. Due to the compounding effects of his knee injuries, Strootman was simply never the same; the transformative force under Rudi Garcia became inconsistent and at times ineffective; the heart was willing but the body was unable.
To his credit, Strootman persevered where many would have faltered, logging over 60 appearances over the past two seasons, an astounding and laudable feat considering everything he endured the prior two years. After fighting his way back to fitness, I suppose it is somewhat ironic (bitterly so) that Strootman may finally be sold because he is simply no longer the best option.
It’s not a fitting end for a man that once seemed destined to be a club legend, but if this is indeed it for Strootman and Roma, he’ll go down as one of the most beloved players in the club’s modern history, one who will be welcomed back with open arms.
I can only assume I was busy, because reading that again, I think I sold him short. From battling through injuries, to cheering the team on from the stands, to rebuffing moves to Manchester United to his triumphant return to form, it always seemed like you'd have to drag Strootman out of the Olimpico kicking and screaming.
But he didn't. Rather than lashing out against Roma's summer clearance sale, Strootman handled the move with grace, and while his first season in France probably wasn't quite as successful as he liked, he still scored one goal and contributed five assists in about 1,900 Ligue 1 minutes. Not great but not bad either.
With Roma searching high and low for another midfielder (for some reason), Tuttomercato web threw out a doozy of a rumor today: the return of Kevin Strootman to Roma. Now, they offer no substance and very little in the way of rationale, but here we are talking about it, so mission accomplished Tuttomercatoweb.
But we mentioned it last August; Strootman would be welcomed back with open arms...right? When I wrote that I meant in some sort of testimonial match or when he's inevitably inducted into Roma's Hall of Fame, but as a player? Would a reunion on the pitch really work out?
Strootman means too much to me to dissect the 29-year-old version of him, so I'm turning it over to you: Would you take him back right now? Could this Strootman improve this Roma?
Should Roma consider bringing back Kevin Strootman?
This poll is closed
Yes—He's still got something left to give
No—leave the past where it belongs
Give Coric a chance for the love of god!